Across the Frozen Lake
Boone liked mornings. He liked adventure. It was morning. He’d been thinking about this adventure since yesterday. He would cross the lake. He would do it walking-on ice. He knew experts called ice a film on water. But he had been watching the lake. Ice had covered its surface three weeks earlier. It had never opened since. He would be careful. He told his dad. He told his mom. He knew what they would say, both did, “be careful, I love you.”
Across the frozen lake was where he anticipated adventure. He’d walked on ice-covered water before. He knew ice could be unsafe, he would be safe and walk around the very edge. The water was not over his head there. He knew his first adventure would be on the ice. That would make two adventures in one. Even better. These quests would happen this morning.
It was cold. One of Boone’s daily habits was to check the family’s digital thermometer each morning when he got out of bed. This morning it read 12 degrees F. He would leave after breakfast. In his young life he had been faithfully taught by both parents and grandparents that the Bible is God’s word. Before breakfast and before final preparation to start these adventures, he picked up his Bible. This morning he read from Psalm 33 these words, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be…” Boone could not fully understand how God could just speak and things came to be. This morning he would walk among the things God spoke into being.
He was becoming more and more eager to be on his way. He took time to eat a fine breakfast. He even ate a banana. That’s when his mom reminded him explorers brush their teeth before great expeditions. Sometimes he debated his mother about brushing. This morning he was keen on getting started. He brushed.
Before his dad left the house, he reminded Boone about dressing in layers. It was on his mind as he put his toothbrush away. When he walked through the kitchen his mom said, “the thermometer reads 15 degrees Boone, remember to layer up.” He knew if his grandpa were there, he would hear the same thing. His first layer was a one-piece suit of long underwear. It was old, but it was lightweight; and warm. He added a thermal turtle neck and pulled on two pair of socks, one wool. Over his cargo pants he added an outer layer of waterproof wind pants. For his arms and chest, he added a fleece vest and a lightweight parka with a hood. Once his insulated, waterproof boots were on, he would step outside. He did not plan to bring the survival bag his grandfather helped him assemble after his first solo trip. He was close to home. He would rely on his cell phone. He’d checked the charge on the battery. As he stepped out the door he reached for the willow walking stick his grandfather had made for him last Christmas. Boone felt his grandfather was near when the stick was in hand. Grandpa’s signature, burned in the wood near the top confirmed it.
He’d stepped into the crisp early winter air when he remembered. How many times had he heard is dad and grandfather say never head onto early ice without your ice picks. He’d left the two palm size cylinders of wood with nails firmly fastened to the end in the drawer in the laundry. The nylon cord attached to the other end of each cylinder went around his neck. If he accidentally broke through the ice he could use the ice picks to pull himself back to safety. He knew his dad would ask. His trip across the frozen lake would wait 5 minutes. Since he did not see his mom anywhere, he left his boots on to walk into the laundry. Boone thought to himself, they are clean yet.
Finally, he was ready and standing outside. Though he was 11 Boone had already developed the habits of someone used to being outside. He stopped and gazed around him. The first minute outside he always stood still and just watched. He was never disappointed.
Boone was pleased his family lived two quick blocks from the lake. He would be there in five minutes. He decided to take big steps. He thought about how the lake had looked unfrozen. Then he thought about those first steps on the ice. He had completely forgotten the math homework due Monday. His drums and practicing them would have to wait. Adventure first and the first part of the adventure would be across the frozen lake. (to be continued)